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Rick Pitino Previews Marshall

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports



--We like to choreograph our defense to try and take the opponent out of doing what they do best, and Marshall is one of the most difficult opponents we have when it comes to doing that because of their offensive spacing and what they run. It's a very difficult task to stop this team from scoring because they can play five guys who can shoot, they're big at the guard spot and they can beat you off the dribble. So far nobody's been able to do a good job on them defensively, so this is going to be a big challenge.

--Ryan Taylor's game has really blossomed. He's become a guy who can shoot, who can handle the ball away from the basket and who can rebound now.

--We're getting better on our defensive rebounding. Every single day we're improving as a basketball team. We're nowhere near where we need to be, but you wouldn't expect that before Thanksgiving.

--We're a very focused team. We understand that we have to get better. The older guys know that the younger guys have to work harder, and they're pushing them as much as the coaches.

--We're not looking ahead. We're very concerned about Marshall right now.

--I wouldn't pay much attention to the Jacksonville State game. We just physically overpowered them. We were so much bigger and longer than they were and we were able to take them out of what they do best. Marshall also blew that team out, so this is going to be a much bigger task for us on the defensive end.

--I don't think the NCAA or CBS should get into pre-releasing tournament seeds during the season. That's a football thing. I think they have better things to do with their time and effort. Why do you need the NCAA and CBS when you've got Joe Lunardi? He'll be working at St. Joe's if that happens.

--Montrezl Harrell shoots the ball much better off the bounce, although he has improved his 16-footer off the pass a lot. He's not only making jump shots right now, but his shot looks good even when they're not going in. It's taken a lot of hard work for him to get to this point.

--When you look at all the yelling and dunking, the national audience probably doesn't think much of Trez's basketball IQ, but he's a very intelligent basketball player, the most intelligent one we have. He really understands the game.

--I don't do much coaching with veterans, they pretty much have free reign. If I could do it with Russ I can do it with anyone.

--I don't put a whole lot of stock in statistics right now. I think once you get through seven or eight games you can really start looking at stats.